To forgive,” writes Mary Gordon, “is to give up the exhilaration of ones own unassailable rightness”
And there is loss in that, only it is the loss of an illusion, and what is gained is unmistakably real: the chance to live again, free from the bitterness that draws the sweetness from our lives, that gives us scary faces and turns us into carrion crows who blot out the sun with our flapping.
No one else does this to us. We do it to ourselves, but we do not have to.
We are being forgiven every day of our lives. We are being set free by someone who has arranged things so that we have all the advantages. We have choices. We have will. And we have an advocate, who seems to know that we need lots of practice at this forgiveness business. How often should we forgive? Will seven times take care of it?”Not seven times,’’Jesus said,“but, I tell you, seventy-seven times.’’ This is no chore. This is a promise, because forgiveness is the way of life. It is God’s cure for the deformity our resentments cause us. It is how we discover our true shape, and every time we do it we get to be a little more alive. What God knows and we don’t yet is that once we get the hang of it, seventy times seven won’t be enough, not to mention seventy-seven.
We’ll be so carried away by it that well hope it never ends,